Kids Seen as Predators?
Simi Valley, CA - The recent death of 5-year old Katya Todesco from a pit bull attack prompted the City Council to ask the county's top animal regulation official to give a report on pit bulls. Kathy Jenks, director of Ventura County Animal Regulation, said, "They (pit bulls) do not see a child under the age of 12 as a human." Last month Jenks said that no dogs see children of this age group as human, apparently now, the statement has changed to "just pit bulls."
Jenks also told council members that, "pit bulls view children as predators or prey." If this is true, pit bulls must view teenagers, adults and senior citizens as prey too. Research gathered by DogsBite.org from January 2006 shows that 86 U.S. citizens have died due to a dog attack. 39 of these people (45%) were over the age of 12. Of these 39, 27 people (69%) suffered death due to a pit bull attack. As the director, she ought to be able to explain the "pit bull problem" more clearly.
In the next paragraph, she tries. She says that when a pit bull bites, "its strength is greater than most breeds." She points out incorrectly, however, that, pit bulls are not more apt to bite than other dogs. This contradicts the Ventura County Animal dog bite statistics (2007-08 fiscal year), which showed that pit bulls were the top biters. Ventura County is not alone. Pit bulls are disproportionately biting across the country, Broward County, FL and Seattle, WA are just two examples.
Research shows that pit bulls have a lowered threshold for attack and often suppress warning signals prior to an attack. It is for a fighting dog's advantage for its attack to be unexpected. Once an attack is initiated, it's nearly impossible to get the animal to stop. Stories abound where a baseball bat, shovel or pitchfork will not stop these attacks, only gunfire does. It is the tenacity of these attacks that greatly increases the probability of severe injury or death. (Lockwood, Pg 133)
Solutions need to be developed to prevent future victims from being injured and killed by pit bulls. In the State of California, breed-specific law is legal in the context of mandatory spay/neuter. San Francisco's mandatory pit bull sterilization law has produced encouraging results. In the 18-month period following the law's passage, pit bull bites declined by 21%; shelter occupancy rates fell from three-quarters to one-quarter; and pit bull euthanasia dropped 24%.
10/10/08: 2008 Fatality: 5-Year Old Girl Killed by Pet Pit Bull in Simi Valley
09/14/08: Flashback: S.F. Pit Bull Sterilization Law Has Successful Results